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On the Menu

The Heat is On at Thai Spice Shack

By Kyle Galdeira Photos By Nathalie Walker
September 15, 2013

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A new generation of Thai cuisine is sweeping the local dining scene, and Thai Spice Shack is home to a host of innovative culinary creations.

Situated at the “gourmet food truck” locale dubbed Diamond Head Court, the Monsarrat Avenue location is just minutes away from Kapiolani Community College, Waikiki Shell and up the hill from Kapahulu. The Thai Spice Shack food truck is the creation of co-owners Nanz Yotsaya and Mani Phongsavath, the latter of whom also serves as the eatery’s skilled chef.

According to Yotsaya, the duo opened Thai Spice Shack in early August after a few months of successful showings at local mobile food events and appearances at Taste Table.

“We have developed a really good following, and a lot of customers have returned to visit us here at our permanent location,” Yotsaya says. “I’m very happy with the response. Customers are so excited to try our food; it really makes my day.”

The restaurateurs recommend Curry Pad Thai ($9 with chicken), a spicy blend of stir-fried rice noodles, egg and a choice of red or green coconut curry. The dish also incorporates fresh bean sprouts and crunchy peanuts, and for those who prefer more spice, just ask and Phongsavath will increase the heat level accordingly.

“We created this dish with the traditional Pad Thai sauce and curry so it’s a bit stronger — I love it,” Yotsaya says. “It’s the most popular, our No. 1 seller.”

Eggplant Bomb ($9 with chicken) features an explosion of flavor as the dish blends sweet organic eggplant, fresh basil and a spicy house Thai chili sauce over rice. As Yotsaya explains, the eatery receives 85 percent of its produce from a farm in Waialua — a sustainable practice that also adds flavor and freshness to each dish, as is the case with Thai Papaya Salad ($6) and its mix of shredded green papaya, tomato and green beans in a refreshing lime sauce.

Green Curry ($9 with chicken, medium spice) offers a blend of coconut milk, freshly made curry paste and hints of garlic and other spices that combine for a strong, bold taste atop a bed of rice. Thai Spice Shack also serves up a fresh take on a local food icon with Thai Loco Moco ($9 with chicken), also known as Pad Kraprow. The delicious stir-fry concoction contains chopped onions, bell peppers, basil and a special house sauce served on rice and topped with a fried egg.

“It’s an authentic Thai dish fused with the loco moco concept. We use a lot of vegetables including sweet Thai basil — we have some customers who drive over from Waimanalo every Friday just to eat it,” Yotsaya says.

Entrees also can be prepared with a mixture of extra vegetables and tofu ($8), as well as protein offerings such as pork ($9), beef ($10), shrimp ($11) or seafood/whole fish ($12).

As a special scoop for Dining Out readers, diners may take advantage of an ongoing Hot Deals Hawaii offer where customers may purchase a $20 voucher for just $10. The special deal is available through Tuesday, Sept. 17, and vouchers are valid for a full year (limit one voucher per party/visit, may not be combined with other specials/discounts/ coupons). Simply log on to www.HotDealsHawaii.com and enjoy the savings Thai Spice Shack has to offer.

Customers are encouraged to follow Thai Spice Shack on Facebook (www.Facebook.com/ThaiSpiceShack) and Instagram (@ThaiSpiceShack) to view more of the delicious items available daily at the food truck.

Thai Spice Shack

3212 Monsarrat Ave., Honolulu
979-3415 or (808) 387-1249
Open daily, 11:30 a.m.-7:30 p.m.
ThaiSpiceShack.com